SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Forests are a major driver for sustainable economic growth and provider of jobs especially in rural areas, yet forestry work is considered among the most hazardous in the world

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Sustainable Development Goal

Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7% and having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places, especially in rural areas. 

Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs with decent working conditions that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment.

Forests and SDG 8: 

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Forests and their value chains are of critical importance for sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, especially in remote rural areas. 

Natural forests account for more than 21 per cent of total rural household income. ILO

Jobs in forestry include those related to forest management, silviculture and forest protection, tourism, logging and wood harvesting, as well as those related to the collection and production of firewood charcoal and non-wood forest products.

Still characterized by high informality and with a strong presence of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as family labour, the forest industry can have an important impact on improving working conditions and alleviating poverty if employment is increased. 

Also, with forestry being among the most hazardous sectors for workers with operations taking place outdoors and in highly varying terrain and climatic conditions, there are opportunities to improve occupational safety and health through training and adequate risk management.

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms

8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

8.9 By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

Performance-based standards such as PEFC include specific social and labour content that refers to the adherence of international labour standards, including fundamental principles and rights at work. ILO

PEFC and SDG 8

PEFC was founded by smallholders, thus a strong focus of our work has always been to promote and secure decent jobs with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as sustainable economic growth especially in rural areas.

PEFC certification promotes living wages, safe working conditions as well as equal opportunities, non-discrimination and freedom from workplace harassment, in addition to compliance with fundamental ILO conventions.

Forest owners need to pursue sound economic performance, also with consideration for the role of forestry in local economies.  This means that the long-term health and well-being of neighbouring communities should be supported, also in terms of providing new opportunities for training and employment of local people.

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

6.3.1.2 The organisation shall comply with applicable local, national and international legislation on forest management, including health, labour and safety issues.

6.3.1.1 The standard requires that forest practices and operations shall comply with fundamental ILO conventions.

6.3.4.1 Forest operations shall be planned, organised and performed in a manner that enables health and accident risks to be identified and all reasonable measures to be applied to protect workers from work-related risks. Workers shall be informed about the risks involved with their work and about preventive measures.

6.3.4.2 Working conditions shall be safe, and guidance and training in safe working practices shall be provided to all those assigned to a task in forest operations. Working hours should not exceed the number prescribed by national laws or collective agreements where applicable.

6.3.4.3 Wages of local and migrant forest workers as well as of contractors and other operators operating in PEFC-certified areas shall meet or exceed at least legal, industry minimum standards.

6.3.4.4 The organization is committed to equal opportunities and non-discrimination. Gender equality shall be promoted.

8.3.2 Sound economic performance shall be pursued, taking into account possibilities for new markets and economic activities in connection with all relevant goods and services of forests.

8.6.4 Management shall promote the long-term health and well-being of communities within or adjacent to the forest management area, where appropriate supported by engagement with local communities and indigenous peoples.

8.6.6 Management shall give due regard to the role of forestry in local economies. Special consideration shall be given to new opportunities for training and employment of local people, including indigenous peoples.

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